Photo by Clamber
March 1, 2020 - with Podblotz, Patricia Wolf and DJ Opalescent at S1, Portland, OR
March 15, 2020 - with Elder Miller & Pierce and Caspar Sonnet at No Fun, Portland, OR
April 11, 2020 - with Raica and Kole Galbraith at Kame House, Seattle, WA
April 12, 2020 - with Jamondira Harris, Kole Galbraith and Leather Jester at Speck's Records and Tapes, Portland, OR
Available for tour, shows, private events, recording sessions and more. Contact me.
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If the live album is a dead format, then Portland based synth excursionist Veronica 'Vern' Avola is having a wild time boogying on its grave. While many of her electronic contemporaries labour over increasingly refined, studio crafted creations, Avola's compositions prefer to shake themselves out on the dark stages of DIY venues across the western US. In 2019, she began releasing unedited recordings of her frequent live performances on Bandcamp as a diaristic series, When It Reigns, It Poors.
Vol 7, the first of the series' three most recent instalments, begins, fittingly with a wry and twisted parody of stage banter. "Thank you for being here", intones a prerecorded voice, slipping pitch like a melting candle. "Please make yourselves comfortable". This sample is repeated in different registers, from high, goofy chirps to deep and monstrous roars, until the layers congeal into a sludgy mass of sound. A searing saw-like buzz blazes through the mix, plunging the set into a mind-erasing bout of power electronics before blossoming into a churning plume of grey, faceted smoke.Just before the seven minute mark the beat finally drops and the track lurches into its subdivided, angular rhythmic framework. A high synth note hovers for a moment before diving into a familiar melody. This is "Dark Path" from Avola's 2019 album Consensual Abduction (reviewed in The Wire 429) - a triumphant jammer with an infectiously memorable hook. In the music video for the album version of this song, a squad of green cartoon aliens dance in geometric formation while a pair of robot hands play a keyboard. In the live version, the melody quickly disintegrates into a swirling stew of sparkling bloops and twinkling shards, until we find ourselves in a deserted dancehall filled with high-powered lasers. Here, there are whiffs of Pete Swanson's industrial noise-disco, alongside spectres of the stonerific climaxes of vintage Sun Araw. But everything Avola touches is coated in a distinctive layer of murky analogue weirdness and holographic grime that, once encountered, feel like her unmistakeable signature. Even her peals are covered in thick patches of hand coloured duct tape, giving something as pedestrian as a Boss DD-7 the appearance of a prop from a post-apocalyptic B-movie.
When It Reigns, It Poors Vol 8, recorded at Portland's S1 venue and synth library, drops the listener into a party already in motion. Wiggly noise gives way to speedy, skittering techno, while synth sweeps that zip heavenward like slot machines hitting the jackpot echo across disorienting patches of spacetime. The beat gets headier and progressively more subdivided as the long track wears on conspiring to yank the body of the listener into jittering, convulsive moments. Vol 9 meanwhile is the most experimental offering of the latest batch, a sprawling dustbin of cosmic oddities shot through with shuddering blasts and shuffling full spectrum noise. This last set is a collaboration with fellow Portland musician Vo, who runs the queer feminist noise label An Out Recordings, and all proceeds from its download are to be donated to the charitable advocacy group Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women USA.
There is an affinity between Avola's gritty, communal aesthetic and the DIY ethos of Ratskin Records who recently put on a show for her (along with her duo project Elrond) in Oakland (I'm patiently waiting for this show to surface as an instalment in her live series). Avola's recordings would also not be out of place in the Hausu Mountain catalogue, filed alongside the psychedelic power techno of Davey Harms. Taken as a whole When It Reigns, It Poors provides an intimate, ongoing portrait of an artist in an ever evolving dialogue with the spontaneous combustibility of live performance. But the discipline that such intensive self-documentation demands is offset by Avola's playful logic at every turn. Life's too short and strange not to shake your booty to it.
Emily Pothast, The Wire Magazine Issue 432, March 2020
"Questing eternal for friendship and sonic glory in a squalling disorienting world of heaviness centered in sludgy hypnotic maelstrom. The journey is enthralling and washed in layers of ritualistic drone and noise. Avola is the perfect soundtrack for when the Thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durins day diminishes into blissful darkness."
Photo by Corbin Corbiin
"In the midst of all the fuss directed at Area 51 - the top secret military installment a the heart of the US's foremost UFO conspiracy theory - its sister site Area 52 remains in relative obscurity. On her latest self-released digital album, West Coast weirdmaker Veronica Avola imagines the experimental weapons facility as an intergalactic soiree where wide-eyed aliens shake their little grey booties while the stars dance over the desert and nuclear rockets shoot rainbow goo. Several years ago, former CIA pilot and conspiracy theorist John Lear claimed that Area 52 was covered with secret runways hidden in the desert floor that could only be accessed through portals that open and close like giant zippers. It would come as no shock to learn that these portals were somehow triggered by Avola's synths."
Emily Pothast, Wire Magazine, Issue 429 November 2019
Photo by Sam Gherke
"EMS recently opened for Thrones and Oxbow, as part of a Thrones retrospective, followed up by a performance at the new Killingsworth Dynasty venue, which was recorded and remixed by noise legend Daniel Menche, hinting that EMS is a rising force in PDX's underground noise scene (long may it reign). Jeph Nor, likewise, is the driving force behind Volt Divers. Between the two, what we have here is a microcosm of a new aspect of PDX experimental music."
"Zone" is the hypnotic new record by Avola. Portland-based musician/producer Vern Avola takes listeners through droning synth dream of tension and release. It's juxtaposition of beauty to harsh is truly remarkable. "Zone" is aptly named. We're already excited to see what comes next for this already talented artist (Vern is a member of Elrond and Prizehog). Check it out online and snap up a vinyl record if you feel moved."
"There's certainly a zone being explored on Vern Avola's newest record, but I'm not sure it's one of our earthly dimension. Rather, this record reminds me of the sonic areas explored by Wolf Eyes and their fellow psych-noise travelers shortly after the turn of the century. Avola uses a variety of synths (in most press photos, she’s hunched over one) to create these bristly, finicky musical organisms, and while she’s not the first to have this idea (many of the ideas explored through Zone can be traced back to Throbbing Gristle and beyond), she works it well. At times, things get out of control in a Nautical Almanac or Cotton Museum sorta way, but usually Avola lets her tones linger in the stratosphere, as if she’s trying to lure the Silver Surfer back to Earth by emitting a particularly dazzling selection of colors into outer space. Listening to Zone takes me back to the days of not knowing who or what was responsible for the random few American Tapes I was able to acquire, but loving them dearly all the same."
Photo by Andy Garcia
I have had the honor of having my music as part of a video game! The game is called Beleths, and YOU can download and play it!! Beleths is a ritualistic arcade-style top-down shooter drawn from the Goetia Demonok. Visuals react in realtime to a soundtrack featuring contributions from Sleeping with the Earth and Avola.
Made in June 2019 for the PIGSquad Summer Slow Jam.
Download here: https://eranhaas.itch.io/beleth
Current collaborations include a duo called Elrond, occasionally with a band from Australia called DEAD and in a newly formed duo with Daniel Menche called Bear Spray (recordings coming soon!).
B E A R S P R A Y -- A delightful project featuring Daniel Menche and Vern Avola -- More info coming soon...
VO + AVOLA -- My pal Vo and I collaborated in the name of friendship. Check it out here.
E L R O N D Ian Gorman Weiland + Vern Avola
Vern Avola + DEAD
- Song performed by DEAD in collaboration with Veronica Avola. Recorded by Toshia Kasai at Sound Of Sirens, LA in 2015.
Avola Remix Of STOLLER
I had the honor of doing a remix of a track off of this fantastic album in celebration of the re-pressing!
Avola Remix of BEAST (Daniel Mencheand Friends)
BEAST "You've Got Rabies On Your Breath!" was originally offered on Adult Swim Noise Comp and now remastered and remixed by several sonic architects of destruction. If you got your rabies shot already you can still blast this beast.....if not......you've been warned! CRANK IT!
Two mainstays of the Portland synth underground - EMS & Jeph Nor - explore the limits of modular synthesis on Live At Volt Divers, recorded on a freakishly nice Saturday evening in the gloomy occult interior of the Lovecraft Bar. -Forest Punk
'It's hard to know what else to say, other than repeat what we've always said, Prizehog should be adored, they should be worshipped the way Harvey Milk and Boris and the Melvins are, cuz maybe at one point, Prizehog were simply kids aping their heroes, aspiring to the sludge-y genius and twisted outsider metal of those other groups, but as hard as it may be for some folks to believe, Prizehog, might have outheavied, and outweirded, and outgeniused those masters, and become masters themselves, masters of fucking alien prog-doom, long haired, psych sludge, dirge-drone, damaged art pop. Fuck yeah.'
- Aquarius Records
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